Earlier this week the U. S. Supreme Court tossed out a case challenging Arizona tax breaks for voluntary donations benefiting private school scholarships, many of them Christian-based (see Arizona Christian sto creditsSchool Tuition Org. vs Winn 09-987, and Garriott v. Winn 09-991). The thirteen (13) year-old Arizona program gives dollar-for-dollar income tax credits for money provided to chool tuition organizations,? or STO. The Court ruling, which was split 5-4, kept taxpayers challenging the program acked standing? to continue the suit.? Opponents of the program retain the State of Arizona has effectively been funneling taxpayer money to religious schools via a third-party ront? group. In the Court choice, Justice Kennedy writing for the traditional majority stated he reality that (those challenging the program) are state taxpayers does not provide them with standing to challenge the subsidies that (the program) provides to religious STOs.? The justices had been reportedly split over whether the State of Arizona conduct represented a de facto ndorsement? of sto creditsreligion. The increasing reputation of school choice plans throughout the country has lead to fresh new legal questions about whether or not Arizona program is religion-neutral, and whether or not parents have accurate decision-making power, free from government intervention. Tax attorneys are divided on many of these legal concerns and they’re looking to the Courts to clarify the law in this area. You may recall in 2002 the U. S. Supreme Court upheld an Ohio school voucher program. Proponents of the Arizona program keep their school scholarship tax credits are no various from the Cleveland program authorized by the Court nine (9) years ago. One of the characteristics between the Ohio case and current Arizona case is that in both situations the government did not direct any cash to the schools. In the Court latest ruling, Justice Kennedy noted that a tax sto credits does not amount to a overnment costs. Interestingly the minority of Justices felt the Court ruling dishonored the separation of church and state. In fact, Justice Kagan stated he majority betrays the vision of the nation founders on the separation of church and state.? She continued to write choice devastates taxpayer standing in Establishment Clause instances? The court opinion thus offers a roadmap – more really, a one-step instruction – to any government that desires to protect its financing of religious activity from legal problems? Nevertheless blatantly the government might violate the Establishment Clause, taxpayers cannot gain access to the federal courts. What should you need to do if you have questions about whether a tax deduction is valid? First, consult a reliable IRS tax lawyer or other tax expert to obtain the details. Whatever you do, stay on top of your tax commitments and do not delay in submitting your returns. Unfiled taxes and/or owing back taxes may result in significant fines and interest. What worse, if you end-up in the IRS automated collections department and you may be subject to IRS wage garnishments, IRS levies and/or IRS liens.
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